Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pitter Patter

I lie on the bed spreadeagled, eager to enter the 'The chamber of secrets' in a cozy cottage overlooking the Lonavala dam. It's the end of May, and the long drive in the scorching sun has made me itchy all over. I look out the window lazily spotting the sunlit green hill in front of the lake. I read a few pages and glance out again. The hill is gone! Not a trace! I sprint to the balcony as I realize that its been covered by a giant pale white cloud. A drop on my cheek, a two on my arm. Nature is drawing in its breath to begin its most melodious symphony, as I rush outdoors in anticipation... As I look up, the heavens let go of their momentary hesitation and the rain pours over the parched land as I jump in glee with four other kids from neighboring blocks.

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We walk down the rain soaked streets from college to the station. Our tongues are still savoring the sweet taste of the two-rupee cutting chai from VJTI canteen, when we see the corn-seller grilling juicy corn cobs on his cart. We waft at him riding on the fumes of amul butter, delighted to see him after a span of 8 months. Being picky, we ignore the newly arrived sweet yellow corn and go for the old-fashioned pale white corn imploring him to make it extra chatpata! We twiddle our fingers in sheer impatience as he grills the cobs on red hot coals and rubs a dash of butter on them before the customary slice of lemon dipped in salt, pepper and chili powder. A few notes of ten exchange our soiled hands and we bite into the molested delicacies.

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26 July 2004. I am sitting in the computer lab after a tiring math lecture, jabbing away at the keyboard to finish a project report. Professor walks by behind me as he implores me to go home, warning of a railway shutdown due to the heavy downpour. I check the time to see its been two hours since I checked in. What could have possibly happened? I pack my bag and walk out in the corridor, only to watch agape at the sight below. The entire quads is flooded with knee deep water with few students wading through, and some playing basketball. I start walking towards the hostel to find my friend as my folks urge me over the cellphone to stay at aaji's place on matunga west. I am in half mind to stay at the hostel only to find his room locked, and others abandoned. Two other classmates stuck in the same predicament, join me as I start walking towards the station. We bump into a few hostelites enroute who seem to be having a gala time in the flooded streets. As the water gets deeper, I pick up a stick to poke at the road wary of an open manhole. As we enter the waist deep water near the station's Z-bridge, I empty my pant pockets into my backpack pulled high up over my shoulder. On the overhead bridge we look down the railway lines to see no remnants of the tracks, and stranded trains. An hour later, the picture turns out a tad different on the west side due to the higher ground level. Along with my cronies, I enter my grandma's chawl fidgeting to find the door keys in my bag. As I close the door behind us, I turn on the tiny TV to witness the mayhem unleashed by the flash clouds on Mumbai - the city that finally came to a standstill bowing to nature's fury.




3 comments:

Jay Takle said...

Maka, I want maka and sit in the sand on Dadar chowpatty.
I can still remember 26th and 27th of July!!

VS said...

Mumbai monsoon...several unforgettable experiences related to it!

the predicament of being me said...

I am so sorry, I was not there in my room that day! But you could have waited and joined us to help others then :)